The first Monday Night Raw of 2021 will see Drew McIntyre defend the WWE Championship against Keith Lee.
The last couple years have been incredible for Keith Lee. 2019 saw his formal NXT debut as well as his widely acclaimed performance at the 2019 Survivor Series, namely his sole-survivor battle with Roman Reigns.
He managed to follow up with an even better 2020. Lee kicked off in strong fashion with an NXT North American Championship victory and a Royal Rumble appearance which featured a brief showdown against Brock Lesnar. Lee later reached the apex of NXT by simultaneously holding the NXT and North American Championships at the same time, before being moved to Raw shortly after SummerSlam.
Despite Lee’s entrance music and attire needlessly getting adjusted and his momentum being marred by a series of non-finishes, he has impressed nonetheless thanks to his tremendous work both in the ring and on the microphone.
Lee ascending to a WWE Championship win is not a matter of if but a matter of when as long as the logic isn’t suddenly thrown out of the window. His short run has elevated him right into title contention thanks to a victory over Sheamus on the most recent edition of Raw. To Lee’s credit, he doesn’t look out of his depth at all as a contender for the WWE Championship in spite of his relatively short run on the brand thus far.
Lee eventually becoming World Champion is a no-brainer. However, it is too soon to discontinue Drew McIntyre’s latest run as WWE Champion. With two WWE Championship reigns, multiple quality main event performances, and increasing star presence, McIntyre has been one of 2020’s MVPs in what has been among the strangest set of circumstances ever for the professional wrestling industry.
McIntyre seemed set to run from WrestleMania 36 to WrestleMania 37 as WWE Champion before losing and quickly reclaiming the title from Randy Orton. After a show-stealer last month against Roman Reigns and a solid outing against AJ Styles and The Miz, McIntyre has essentially picked back up right where he left off as the torch-carrier for Monday Night Raw.
In what has been an intriguing development to witness thus far, McIntyre’s friendship with Sheamus has been gradually played up more and more on Monday Night Raw over the last few months. As is commonplace in wrestling, the story of the clean-cut hero trusting the rogue typically results in betrayal and a subsequent blood feud. Although Sheamus and McIntyre have already come to blows, it has been attributed to their mutual hotheadedness rather than one person turning on the other.
Sheamus’ tension with Keith Lee and Drew McIntyre presents the likelihood of the former four-time World Champion playing a pivotal role in the outcome of next week’s main event. There are multiple possibilities at play including Lee vs. McIntyre potentially leading to a Triple Threat Match at the Royal Rumble or McIntyre vs. Sheamus going on-one-one. Nonetheless, Lee’s moment at the top is due for sure but right now, there is more story to tell with Sheamus and Drew McIntyre that may lead as far as WrestleMania 37.